Noise pollution is a very real thing. From the ambient din and deafening chatter of loud restaurants to the steady hum of traffic passing by, sound pollution poses a nuisance to those residing in cities at an ever increasing rate. But you never quite realize how unnervingly loud it is living in a city until you venture outside of it. Out on the Olympic Peninsula where I ventured to go on my first ever backpacking trip and where I write this, it is instead the quietness that is deafening. The loudest sound I observe is the vigorous gurgle and rush of the Big Quilcene river just a few bounds away from my resting spot. After I slip on my headphones to give MIGHT‘s debut album another go, accompanied by my newfound remote surroundings, I find that I need only turn up the volume on my phone to just a single notch. In that instant, alarm sets in when I realize how significantly higher my volume is typically set when I listen to music in my apartment rife with street noise.

Germany-based MIGHT is a band completely new to my radar, though this is not all that surprising since the new release is the husband and wife duo’s first album. I’ve been wondering for the past several months when I might find myself reviewing promo altered or inspired by the global pandemic and quarantine life, and MIGHT just might be the first one in my hands. A mere two days before the planned start of recording of their new album, life as we know it came to a staggering halt. Lockdowns became the norm in Europe, and Ana Muhi (vocals, bass) and Sven Missullis (guitar, vocals, drums) decided to move into their studio and forge ahead with recording on their own terms. The end product is a doomy and sludge-laden soundtrack to reflect, in their words, “the emotional movie we all seem to be acting in.”

MIGHT‘s music is patient and sparse. Topping out at a total of 35 minutes, the nine tracks on MIGHT serve up healthy portions of space and silence, allowing me ample time to listen to the quietness of the mountainous wilderness around me. Perhaps most clearly heard in the meditative riffs and soft, yearning vocals of “Warlight,” MIGHT‘s strong suit is heavy minimalism, a genre descriptor that I would have previously considered an oxymoron. And don’t jump the gun and run away after reading the word minimalism. MIGHT‘s riffs are thick, weighty, and gritty, and my boyfriend quickly pointed out that the intro of “Pollution of Mind” sounds eerily similar to Muse song “Assassin.” Meanwhile, Muhi’s subdued, velvety vocals (“Flight of Fancy”, “Mrs. Poise”) liken the band to Mazzy Star or BIG | BRAVE at times. The juxtaposition of bone-crunching riffs and Muhi’s croons give MIGHT a unique sound.

The intrepid duo demonstrate that they have more tricks up their sleeve in the latter half of the album. “Possession” is a rhythmic, bass-heavy composition and “Weirdo Waltz” and “Zero” feature quicker tempos and crazed, jittery guitar. MIGHT‘s most apparent shortcoming is the do-it-yourself sounding production. Who’s to say what the band can do without the constraint of having to record in their own studio? Their compelling songwriting and liberal use of pauses for silence and reflection deserves a more polished and professional sound.

MIGHT‘s debut album is deeply melancholic and fitting for the world we live in right now. The plethora of long pauses, steady drones, and repetition on MIGHT compel me to refer to their music as heavy mellow, not quite heavy metal. Thus, if you’re a fan of Chelsea Wolfe or BIG | BRAVE, listening to MIGHT‘s debut is a solid, logical way to spend 35 minutes of your time. MIGHT‘s focus on silence helps their listeners to be more aware of the interesting sounds flooding the environment around us — be it the sound of my boyfriend happily munching on an afternoon snack of chips and salsa behind me while I work at my desk or the rush of a raging river. For that, I commend them.

Rating: 3.0/5.0
DR: 5 | Format Reviewed: 320 kbps mp3
Label: Exile on Mainstream
Websites: might.earth | might.bandcamp.com | facebook.com/might.earth
Releases Worldwide: July 17th, 2020

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